“Podcast empire” might read like an oxymoron to some but those some are just being regular morons. Over the last couple of years some major podcast networks have blossomed like Nerdist, Earwolf, and ACE. Jesse Thorn’s Maximum Fun predates them all. This gives Thorn an important perspective on the podcast industry, which he shared with Fast Company. He explained:
Radio is a very personal medium, and podcasts are even more so because people are choosing them in a way that they don’t choose things on the radio. With talk radio, you have about five or so choices at any given time; with podcasts, you have literally tens of thousands, so it’s something the listener made an affirmative choice to listen to, rather than just something that happened to be on the radio. A podcast has to be something that can sustain that level of connection.
He also explained how significant having a network has been:
It turns out the percentage of people who only listen to one of our shows is tiny. The average is three or four out of a lineup of half a dozen or so of our active shows right now. What shows they listen to completely varies. Some are arts and culture-driven, some like straight comedy. Some are into John Hodgman because he’s famous.
The interview is a great read if you’re looking to build your own rival podcast network. Though, he still evades the question of what exactly is the sound of young America. Maybe, it’s the sound of a jobless 24-year old drinking organic energy drinks and watching YouPorn or reruns of Girls and Keeping Up with the Kardashians or maybe not.